Defense Activity for Non-Traditional Education Support (DANTES)

DANTES (Defense Activity for Non-Traditional Education Support) is a DoD organization created to help Servicemembers pursue their educational goals and earn the degrees or certification they deserve while continuing to serve their country.

Non-Traditional Education

Think of it this way: Traditional education requires reporting to class, and sitting in a classroom on the teacher's schedule. However, "Non-Traditional" education is completely flexible, it fits your schedule, life style, and goals. Through the programs that DANTES' supports, your local education services office or Navy college office have the tools to help you be successful.

DANTES offers information and support for numerous "Non-Traditional" ways to pursue these academic and vocational goals including information about courses taught through:

  • Audio Cassette and/or Video Tapes
  • E-Mail
  • Internet
  • CD-ROM
  • PDA
  • Podcast
  • Print based Correspondence
  • Satellite Television

DANTES provides support programs, information, and resources that help your Education Service and Navy College offices help you research, select, and pursue educational goals. For example DANTES offers the following support programs:

The Credit-by-Examination Program

This program provides several examination programs through which an individual may:

  • Earn a high school credential
  • Satisfy undergraduate- and graduate-level college admission requirements
  • Earn college credit
  • Gain professional certification

Most tests are offered at your local education center or Navy College office on a funded basis for eligible military personnel and on a limited funded basis to eligible civilians. Some programs may be offered to civilians on an unfunded, space-available basis.

CLEP, DSST, and ECE exams are recommended for college credit by the American Council on Education and recognized by most regionally and nationally accredited institutions as a way for students to "test out" of a given course. These exams are worth college credits ranging from 3 to 12 semester hours each.

Click here to learn more about the Examination Program.

The Distance-Learning Program

This program offers information allowing easy access for you to take individual courses, enroll in external degree programs, or earn certificates and degrees that can expand your career horizons.

DANTES maintains three online catalogs that list distance learning courses and programs:

  • DANTES Independent Study Catalog - lists more than 6,200 high school, undergraduate and graduate level, and examination preparation courses that are available from regionally accredited institutions. This catalog is intended for students who need specific courses to meet degree requirements.
  • DANTES External Degree Catalog - Lists academic programs available from regionally accredited colleges and universities that have little or no residency requirements for degree completion, making them very useful to Servicemembers in achieving their educational goals. Certificate, undergraduate, graduate, and post-graduate degree programs are all available in Non-Traditional forms. The External Degree Catalog also has a Teacher Certification Section describing institutions with their Teacher Certification programs available through distance learning.
  • DANTES Catalog of Nationally Accredited Distance Learning Programs - Lists courses and degree programs from institutions accredited by the various national accrediting bodies. An incredible range of course and degree subjects is available from "Appliance Repair" to "Zionism and Judaism in Israel".

Note: In most cases your service's TA program will cover the courses listed in the DANTES Catalogs and Guides. Additionally, the MGIB will cover ALL the courses and programs listed.

Click here for more on using the MGIB and here for more on tuition assistance.

The Military Evaluations Program

This program provides academic credit recommendations for training completed while in the service. The results of these credit recommendations are published in the Guide to the Evaluation of Educational Experiences in the Armed Services, also known as the ACE Guide. These evaluations are provided in the form of official military education and training transcripts. Contact your local education service office or Navy College representative for assistance.

Click here for more details on how you can earn college credits for military experience.

The Servicemembers Opportunity Colleges (SOC) Program

This program serves as DoD's advocate and liaison for the servicemember who is pursuing a college degree. They help to facilitate military credit transfer and acceptance among the colleges and universities, while requiring minimal academic residency. The listing of colleges and universities is published in the SOC Consortium Guide.

Click here to learn more about SOC, and how it can help you reach your goals.

Career Guidance Materials and Interest Inventories

DANTES also distributes a number of guidance materials and inventories that you can find at your local education center, Navy College office, and family support centers. These materials can be used to provide counseling to Servicemembers and family members. The Interest and Aptitude inventories (questionnaires) provide measured interests in career fields and diversified academic areas.

Guidance Materials and Interest Inventories:

  • Help counselors obtain complete career assessment information
  • Provide an integrated measure of self-assessed interests and skills of the servicemember
  • Provide an estimate of a student's confidence in his/her ability to perform various occupational activities

Through DANTES, your local Education Service Office or Navy College representative can provide the following six guidance assessments:

  • Campbell Interest and Skills Survey (CISS)
  • Career Assessment Inventory (CAI)
  • Holland's Self-Directed Search
  • Kuder Career Search with Person Match
  • Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI)
  • Strong Confidence Inventory

All of these assessments and inventories can be accessed via the Internet except the Holland. Online versions don't have to be taken at the education center; they can be taken at any computer with Internet access.

Note: Training is required to administer the MBTI, or individuals who have taken an appropriate college course in test interpretation can qualify to give the MBTI.

In addition the Computer Assisted Guidance Information System (CAGIS), which is called DISCOVER, is available at 232 military installations with worldwide. The system allows individuals to use personal information to interact with the computer to reach more reasoned decisions regarding educational and vocational choices.

DISCOVER is a comprehensive career planning program that DANTES provides at no cost to education centers. It allows individuals to use personal information to interact with the computer to reach decisions regarding educational and vocational choices.

DISCOVER offers three career assessments, suggests occupational families based on client's answers, and provides occupation data, school data, job-seeking skills, etc. The program is used to help personnel plan their education while in military service and to plan for their transition to civilian jobs. It measures interests (what you LIKE to do), abilities (those things you CAN do), and values (where you access the things you would PREFER to do). Each inventory is scored and interpreted immediately, so you can proceed to the next logical step in their planning without any delay.

DANTES Informational Videos

DANTES provides informational videos on a range of topics including:

A Matter of Degree:

  • Terms associated with higher education
  • Semester hours and quarter hours
  • Dangers of diploma mills and schools that are not accredited
  • Success stories on the path to a degree.
  • Advantages of "Distance Learning."
  • Transfer credits from military experiences.
  • Importance of DANTES Examinations in accelerating your plan to reach your goal
  • Explains SOC and its benefits to Servicemembers.

DANTES: Your Partner for Success:

  • Identifies the importance of having a plan
  • Importance of an education counselor
  • Gives an overview of the programs offered through DANTES
  • Talks about traditional classes, certification, licensure, distance learning, SOC, on-line catalogs, tuition assistance, testing, college entrance exams, CLEP & DSST Exams, ACE recommended credits, military experience college credit, AARTS & SMART Transcripts, CCAF Transcripts, Coast Guard Institute Transcripts, Troops to Teachers Program, and more

SOC: Getting a College Degree while on Active Duty:

  • Describes the importance of getting an education
  • The ease associated with doing it using SOC.
  • Benefits of promotion, better pay and a better lifestyle both in the Military and when military men and women go back into the civilian workforce
  • Points out the convenience of courses offered by schools on military installations

Certification Support Programs

Certification Program

The DANTES Certification Program provides support and information to give Servicemembers an opportunity to test on an assortment of credentialing examinations in such areas as Information Technology, federal communications, human resources management, automotive services, and emergency medical technology.

DANTES has approximately 60 agreements with nationally recognized certification associations. Certification examinations document a person's level of competency and achievement in a particular area. Military personnel may already have the experience and knowledge required to gain certification in their occupational specialty.

In addition the ARNG provides a reimbursement benefit for Army National Guard Servicemembers that pay for one certification or licensure examination sponsored by DANTES. Certification and licensure examinations are offered at your base Education Service Office's test center and national test centers. Find additional information on the ARNG Reimbursement Program at

Troops To Teachers Program (TTT)

The purpose of TTT is to assist eligible military personnel (including eligible National Guard) to transition to a new career as public school teachers in targeted schools. A network of State TTT Offices has been established to provide participants with counseling and assistance regarding certification requirements, routes to state certification, and employment leads. The TTT homepage provides information and resource links, including a job referral system to allow participants to search for job vacancies as well as links to state Departments of Education, state certification offices, model resumes, and other job listing sites in public education. Pending availability of funds, financial assistance may be provided to eligible individuals as stipends up to $5K to help pay for teacher certification costs or as bonuses of $10K to teach in schools serving a high percentage of students from low-income families. Participants who accept the Stipend or Bonus must agree to teach for three years in targeted schools in accordance with the authorizing legislation. Call 800-231-6242, or email for more information.

For more details, and to take advantage of opportunities DANTES provides, contact your local Educational Services Office. You can also get more information at the TTT website:

Related Topics

DANTES Troops to Teachers Education

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